Gray wolf, © Michael Quinton/National Geographic Stock

One Year After Delisting, Idaho Leads Race to Bottom in Wolf Management

State, federal officials allow more than 400 wolves to be killed in first year of state management

WASHINGTON (April 30, 2012) – On May 5, 2011, Congress used a budget rider to remove the Northern Rockies wolf from the list of endangered species.  For the past year, Idaho and Montana have been in charge of managing wolves in their states. Idaho in particular has pursued very aggressive strategies, including allowing very liberal hunting and trapping seasons during which more than 375 wolves have been killed so far. Dozens more wolves have been killed in Idaho as a result of targeted removals in response to livestock losses and to artificially boost elk herds in select areas.

The following is a statement from Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of Defenders of Wildlife:

“For years, Idaho’s leaders repeatedly said that they would manage wolves responsibly. Idaho wildlife biologists even wrote a plan to maintain 518-732 wolves. But Idaho Governor Otter rescinded the biologists’ plan, and state officials indicate they have no plans to manage for more than 150 wolves. It seems when finally given the chance to manage their own wolves responsibly, Idaho has shown itself quite unwilling to do so.

“In the past year, state officials have pursued some of the exact same short-sighted, predator control strategies from the 1800s that put wolves on the endangered species list in the first place. They’re treating wolves like vermin instead of managing them like valuable native wildlife. That’s not how Idaho manages other species like black bears and mountain lions, and it’s not a responsible way to manage wolves either.

Wolf sign

Idaho’s hostility to wolves is more evident now than ever.

“Meanwhile, the federal government is sitting idly by as Idaho almost singlehandedly unravels one of our nation’s greatest wildlife conservation success stories. This is totally unheard of—never before has a species climbed its way back from near extinction only to be quickly decimated once again. Americans deserve a better return on their investment after helping to restore wolves in the Northern Rockies.

“The Obama administration and members of Congress who supported the wolf rider share the blame for stripping vital protections without adequate safeguards in place, and now it’s their job to hold Idaho accountable. The question is: How low will Idaho have to go before those responsible for the wolf’s premature delisting do something?”

The following is a statement from Suzanne Stone, Northern Rockies representative for Defenders of Wildlife:

“The concerns of Idahoans who care about wolves are being completed ignored by our state officials.  At last month’s Idaho Fish and Game Commission meeting, wolf supporters outnumbered opponents more than three to one yet not one of our concerns about more than doubling the number of wolves that hunters and trappers can kill in the upcoming season were addressed.  The state pledged to manage wolves like they do other wildlife, but mountain lions and black bears are not managed this aggressively.  Idaho maintains approximately 3,000 mountain lions and 20,000 black bears and less than 600 wolves are left today.  We need a responsible wildlife management plan for Idaho before the population is decimated.”


Gray wolves in the Northern Rockies were officially delisted on May 5, 2011, as the result of a budget rider introduced by Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.). The provision was the first in the 40-year history of the Endangered Species Act to strip federal protections for an individual species by legislative fiat.

Read more about wolves on Defenders blog

Learn more about what Defenders is doing to protect wolves in the Northern Rockies

See Idaho Fish and Game’s wolf hunting and trapping website

Categories: Gray Wolf, Idaho

One Response to “One Year After Delisting, Idaho Leads Race to Bottom in Wolf Management”

  1. Shelly

    Here is a comment posted by the Idaho Police Department about he SSS raffle they had 2 months before the wolf was delisted:

    Idaho County Sheriff’s Office
    “The wolf raffle that has been over for MORE than a year. The wolf issue came up and was “in our face” about two years ago. Yes, the nice wolves were eating livestock, killing the deer, elk, moose and family pets while roaming the streets of our rural communities. It was an issue in the front of everyone’s mind. People who hunted for their family’s survival were unable to do so because there were no elk or deer around to be found. So our Sheriff came up with a tongue-in-cheek idea to raise awareness about wolves. Awareness that spread like wildfire. We did not promote wolf poaching. No wolves were harmed before, during or after the raffle, legally, illegally or otherwise by the Sheriff’s Office, nor did we condone anyone else doing so. The raffle raised awareness, a lot farther and wider than we envisioned, and then the wolves were delisted. We raised awareness about wolves in Idaho plain and simple. SSS did not stand for anything other than SAFETY, SECURITY & SURVIVAL. Yes, we knew there was another perception of what SSS really meant. That was not our intention. So call your governor, the FBI, whomever, but no laws were broken. No poaching happened. And ultimately our goal of awareness was achieved, with an added bonus of helping local area children and the food bank with money from the 14,000 tickets that were sold coast to coast.”

    So it is OK to encourage poaching of an endangered species as long as you are raising money for children. Good to know.

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